2015 has been deadly in the construction sector with 11 construction site fatalities in New York City's past fiscal year, according to data compiled by the City of New York. This does not include the three devastating fatalities in the last two months that all occurred on construction worksites not up to code or lacking safety equipment, according to numerous complaints filed to the City.
That deadly sum exceeds New York City construction fatalities in all recent years and is up 83 percent over FY2014 and 120 percent since FY2013 (the city's fiscal calendar runs July 1 - June 30), representing the highest total since the current construction expansion began in 2008. While construction is a huge economic engine for New York City, it accounts for less than 4 percent of all New York State employment, yet an astounding 20 percent of all of the state's on-the-job deaths.
What's more, the Mayor's Management Report has identified that with hundreds of serious construction related accidents, injuries increased 34 percent in FY 2015, up 51 percent from both FY2013 and FY2012. So what is the cause of this and how can it be rectified?
Two trends are leading the increase. One is the obvious surge of new construction New York City has encountered, as the Department of Buildings issued 52,618 residential building permits in FY2015, up 156 percent from FY2014 and up a staggering 749 percent from FY2010.
The second is that data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows that nonunion worksites also accounted for 75 percent of construction fatalities in 2014 and 72 percent between 2012-2013.